Five ways to win – and retain – executive clients


Winning executive clients – like directors, senior managers and members of the sought-after C-suite – can take a fair bit of preparation and know-how from you as an executive coach. The rewards of securing the business – not to mention prestige – of a high-end coaching client, however, is well worth it.

Here are five ways to get the most out of your marketing efforts when refocusing your business on executive clients:

1   Clearly define your target market.

Clearly defining your target market is the first essential step to marketing your executive coaching services and winning new executive clients. There are a number of ways to do this, but if you’ve been in the game for a while a good starting point is to look at your existing client base and analyse the specific needs, challenges and characteristics of your top clients.

Once you’ve defined exactly what kind of executive clients you’re targeting, you can articulate your unique value proposition as an executive coach. When you know what your ideal client’s needs are and how your executive coaching programme meets those needs, you’re much better equipped to successfully market your services.

2   Turn away clients who don’t fit into your target market.

Ever heard of the Pareto principle or the ‘80-20 rule’ as it’s sometimes called? The Pareto principle, so-called for the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who came up with the idea, states that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. It’s a generalisation, sure, but it’s one that’s very useful when applied to business. When you analyse the figures, more often than not you’ll find that 80% of your sales come from just 20% of your potential clients (or near enough). Honing in on that lucrative 20% is one of the most effective ways to maximise your income.

My experience in executive coaching training suggests keeping the Pareto principle in mind when looking for new executive clients. Resist the urge to sign clients who don’t fit the bill. If you do, they’ll end up sapping time, energy and resources that could be better spent getting the most out of the executive clients you really want.

3   Offer potential executive clients something of value before they even sign up.

The marketing world today is going through a revolution of sorts. These days, effective marketing looks more like helping than selling. Allow me to explain: consumers today – whether they’re high-powered executives or low-level juniors – make buying decisions based on independent online research. This means that clients are more likely to take notice of coaches who have a strong online presence and an active blog containing high quality, helpful articles.

Publishing helpful blogs and articles online is also a handy excuse to get in touch with potential clients a few days after a promising introductory conversation. Contacting a potential client to notify them of a recent article you’ve written that you think they’ll find useful already adds value to their lives. This is the epitome of ‘helping, not selling’ and it’s a powerful way to build a lasting client base.

4   Position yourself as a thought leader.

There’s another reason why having a strong online presence is invaluable to winning and retaining executive clients. Regularly publishing articles online and taking part in relevant conversations on social media networks – LinkedIn in particular – positions you as an executive coaching authority and thought leader in the industry. Executive clients expect to work with the cream of the coaching crop, so it’s worth spending time building up your reputation online.

Remember, word-of-mouth is still the most powerful marketing channel available to you. In today’s digital-savvy world, a recommendation from a connection on a social or business networking platform like Twitter and LinkedIn packs a hefty punch.

5   Offer – and follow through on – tangible deliverables.

Top level executives respond better to executive coaching programmes that offer tangible benefits and measurable value. So, it’s important to clearly lay out the measurable outcomes your coaching will result in when talking to prospective new clients. Showing that you take a more formalised approach to coaching programmes will pique executive clients’ interest. Of course, it’s equally important to apportion time in the programme to measuring these projected outcomes. Showing concrete evidence of value added will go a long way to retaining executive clients – not to mention turning them into brand evangelists.

As an experienced executive coach, you’ve already got an array of strengths and skills at your disposal to help you win more high quality executive clients. If you’re interested in finding out more about how to win clients by playing to your unique strengths as an executive coach, our executive coaching training will help you take your marketing efforts to the next level.